Dragnet (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

Dragnet (1987)



Critic Consensus: While it's sporadically funny and certainly well-cast, Dragnet is too clumsy and inconsistent to honor its classic source material.

Dragnet Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Dan Aykroyd must have practiced for months to perfect his Jack Webb inflections for Dragnet. Screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz's directorial debut (also written by Mankiewicz, along with Aykroyd, and Alan Zweibel) is a gentle spoof of the legendary '50s television police drama -- pitting '50s conservatism smack up against the attitudes of the '80s. Basically, the film is another 48 Hours or Beverly Hills Cop clone. Aykroyd stars as Joe Friday, the nephew of the original Friday. But with his brown suit, fedora, and lockjaw, he could just as well be the incarnation of Jack Webb. He is involuntarily assigned a smart alecky, street-wise partner, Pep Streebeck (Tom Hanks), and they are appointed to investigate a series of religious cult murders in L.A. The two cops follow the trail to a phony televangelist, the Reverend Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer). From there, they are only at step away from uncovering an Orange County-based religious cult calling itself P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness and Normalcy). After sneaking into a secret ceremony, Friday falls in love with the sacrificial victim Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul). So much so that even after his superior Captain Gannon (Harry Morgan, reprising his role from the '60s revival of the Dragnet program) orders him off the case, Friday continues on, with the requisite car chases and crashes that usually climax any '80s cop movie or comedy.more
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Action & Adventure, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: David Ackroyd, Dan Aykroyd, Alan Zweibel, Tom Mankiewicz
On DVD: Oct 27, 1998
MCA Universal Home Video


Tom Hanks
as Streebek
Alexandra Paul
as Connie Swail
Jack O'Halloran
as Emil Muzz
Elizabeth Ashley
as Jane Kirkpatrick
Dabney Coleman
as Jerry Caesar
Kathleen Freeman
as Enid Borden
Bruce Gray
as Mayor Parvin
Lenka Peterson
as Granny Mundy
Julia Jennings
as Sylvia Wiss
Fred Asparagus
as Tito Provencal
Joe Altmark
as Milkman
Peter Aykroyd
as Phoney Cop #2
Nina Arvesen
as Motor Cop
Jim Boeke
as Nectar Pagan
Donald Craig
as Announcer
Gray Daniels
as Crewman #1
Gary Lee Davis
as Leggings Pagan
Sandra Eng
as TV Reporter
Ava Fabian
as Baitmate
Kimberly Foster
as Betsy Blees
Bert Hinchman
as Night Watchman
D.D. Howard
as Officer Robin Gilber...
Peter Leeds
as Roy Grest
Lisa London
as 1982 Redhead
Maurice Marsac
as Maitre d'
Stuart Quan
as Tough #3
Casey Sander
as Phoney Cop #1
Ray Sharkey
as Drug Pagan
Bill Wittman
as Narrator
Meg Wyllie
as Mrs. Gannon
Josh Cruze
as Police Officer
Jimmie F. Skaggs
as Caterer Pagan
Dona Speir
as Baitmate
Sydney Urshan
as Officer Conklin
Ruben Garfias
as Tough #2
Lisa London
as 1982 Redhead
Julie Donald
as Zookeeper
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Dragnet

Critic Reviews for Dragnet

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (7)

More innocuous than inventive.

Full Review… | May 20, 2008
Top Critic

Most of the time it's fresh, funny, and surprising.

Full Review… | May 20, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Entertaining enough, but a pity they didn't draft in more of the Eisenhower context.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Aykroyd and Mr. Hanks play well together, but the funniest performance in the film is that of Dabney Coleman, as the smut king (who lisps).

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Yes, it is lowbrow and sophomoric. What you'd call dumb-de-dumb-dumb fun.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

The script is a gold mine of one-liners.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Dragnet



Classic 80's comedy with Hanks in his silly prime and Aykroyd when he was in everything haha.
There are some genius moments of comedy gold in this film that just elevate it, its much like the 'Starsky n Hutch' or 'The Dukes of Hazzard' remakes in which they sent up the original somewhat but keep it close to its original format in terms of concepts.

Its really underrated and overlooked frankly, the pairing of Hanks n Aykroyd is fantastic, Aykroyd being so so funny as a stuck up jobsworth and Hanks is perfect in a slick laidback role much like his other 80's characters. Its all very cheesy but there's some good action in here, nice soundtrack and excellent cast, wish they made em like this still hehe.

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Why Mankiewicz?, Why Leonard?, Why Ackroyd?, Why Zweibel?, Why Dragnet is not so good?

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

'Dragnet' is the movie Dan Aykroyd must have lived his whole life (up till then) to make. It is truly a moment of cosmic destiny that sees him donning the guise of Sgt. Joe Friday, nephew of the original, and it fits him like a glove, Aykroyd himself has never been better. The machine-gun verbal delivery he honed to perfection on 'Saturday Night Live' is given its best showcase here, and even though Tom Hanks is on board as well and is very likable and funny, make no mistake- this is Dan Aykroyd's show all the way. The best moments of 'Dragnet' come when he spews his rapid-fire dialogue at anyone and everyone; quoting regulations, lecturing bad guys and co-workers alike on everything from sex to zoo animals, declaring his love for Los Angeles and its police department, and generally being so straight a straight-arrow, you wonder if he's ever told a lie in his life. Conviction is one thing that Aykroyd's Joe Friday is definitely not lacking. And that is really the fun of 'Dragnet;' it takes you inside Friday's world, a place without too much in common with modern-day reality, but a place he believes so firmly in that you can't help but be sucked inside. Hanks' Pep Streebeck is there as a sort of reminder of real life, and under other circumstances, the combination wouldn't work, but here it does. The plot involves a porn magazine publisher (Dabney Coleman) who is secretly in cahoots with a right-wing preacher (Christopher Plummer, of all people, doing a letter-perfect take-off of Pat Robertson). Aykroyd's Friday even has a love interest, the Virgin Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul) who is as off-the-wall in her own way as Friday is his, so they make an ideal couple. The film was only a modest hit, and it certainly wasn't Dan Aykroyd's most successful movie in terms of box-office but its in my eyes a classic comedy and worth checking out

David Ladd

Super Reviewer

Dragnet Quotes

– Submitted by Estella B (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Joey C (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Dragnet on our Movie forum!